Out Of The Vault Christmas Will Put Any Nicktoons Nostalgic In The Holiday Spirit

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon debuted its re-branded classic Nicktoons programming block this week. “The Splat,” formerly “The 90s Are All That” debuted Monday on Nickelodeon’s TeenNick network. Not everybody has been overly happy that it was put out on one of Nickelodeon’s digital networks instead of the main network. That is because TeenNick is essentially a premium network. While those arguing against the decision by Nickelodeon’s heads to keep that classic programming on a premium network have a somewhat valid argument that argument is also somewhat flimsy as Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory teamed up a few years ago and have since released both single season standalone and full season box sets from a number of Nickelodeon’s classic series. Those series include: Hey Dude, Hey Arnold!, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Angry Beavers, Danny Phantom, Rocko’s Modern Life, and The Wild Thornberrys over the course of the past few years or so. The sets have all been made available on DVD in stores and online. It’s anyone’s guess if Doug, Rugrats, Rocket Power, or even the likes of Salute Your Shorts or Are You Afraid of the Dark? will ever get proper DVD releases in stores (since those series are currently only available online). One can only hope that one day Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory will strike a deal that will lead to those latter series each getting their own proper releases. Until then Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have yet another classic Nicktoons release for all the 90s Nicktoons fans out there in the form of the new holiday compilation Out Of The Vault Christmas. This single-disc compilation features sixteen episodes from five of Nickelodeon’s beloved classic animated series. It is just one reason that viewers (especially those without the TeenNick network) will enjoy and appreciate this collection of classic cartoons. It is just one reason that audiences will enjoy it, too. The writing behind each of the compiled episodes is just as important to the collection’s overall viewing experience as the presentation of the episodes in general. As with the previously released Nicktoons Halloween collection, the diversity of the shows’ animation styles rounds out the reasons that viewers will appreciate this latest collection from Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon. Each noted element is important in its own right in the DVD’s overall presentation. When set together they show Out Of The Vault Christmas to be a great way for any Nicktoons Nostalgic to get into the holiday spirit.

Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s new holiday-themed collection of Nicktoons episodes is a great way for fans of the classic cartoon series to get into the holiday spirit. The central way in which it proves this is in its very collection of episodes. Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon have stepped things up in this new collection, offering viewers a grand total of sixteen episodes. That is up from the ten featured in both of the companies’ previous Out Of The Vault collections. What’s more, none of the episodes featured here have been carried over from the respective series’ previous DVD releases but not from the previous Out Of The Vault DVDs. This means that while technically they have been recycled, they also have not been recycled. It’s semantics, yes. But it’s true. Because they have been carried over from the series’ previous season (and full series) sets but not from the previous OOTV sets (as it will henceforth be known), their presentation here makes them quite the boon for anyone that might not have any of the featured series’ previously released box sets. This includes both the series’ single season standalone sets (say that five times fast) and their full-series sets. Considering all of this it shows that the presentation of the episodes tapped for the collection is in itself an important part of the set’s whole albeit just one part of that whole. It gives those that might not have any of the series’ sets a solid start to their Nicktoons collections. Even for those that have some or even all of the previously released Nicktoons sets from Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon it still serves as a fun holiday collection. To that extent the episodes that make up the body of the DVD show their importance even more. It is just one reason that audiences will enjoy and appreciate the collection, too. The writing behind the collection’s featured episodes makes for even more enjoyment.

The episodes presented in Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory’s new Nicktoons holiday compilation DVD are in their own right an important part of the DVD’s overal enjoyment and success. Being that the episodes have been recycled only from their series’ respective season and series sets, and that the companies have increased the episode count from ten to sixteen, the episodes more than give viewers reason to check out this new DVD. Of course the episodes are only one part of what makes this DVD so enjoyable. The writing behind the episodes plays its own part in the DVD’s success. That is because while there are some directly holiday-themed episodes presented across the collection’s episodes, there are some that are not so direct yet still maintain at east some hoiday connection. In regards to the episodes whose scripts are directly linked to Christmasnone of those episodes are like the others. A comparison of “Arnold’s Christmas” to “Rocko’s Modern Christmas” and “A Very CatDog Christmas” clearly shows this. “Arnold’s Christmas” is a touching half-hour episode of Hey Arnold! that boasts just as much heart as any of the series’ other episodes if not more. Even more interesting about this episode is that for all of the emotional impact that it offers, at no point did the show’s writers ever allow it to become just another over-the-top, schmaltzy holiday presentation. Instead the writers maintained full control throughout the episode, presenting a very real and relatable story that will tug at the heartstrings of viewers of all ages. On the other side of that proverbial coin, the stories presented in “A Very CatDog Christmas” and “Rocko’s Modern Christmas” both present rather dysfunctional characters who ironically enough still manage to learn the true meaning of Christmas in their own manner. The dysfunction is made clear in “A Very CatDog Christmas” as Cat and Dog end up causing Santa to cancel Christmas because they decide to sell themselves to Rancid’s daughter Rancine. Of course the four-legged friends eventually learn a very important lesson, in turn bringing back Santa.

In regards to the episodes that are not directly holiday-themed but still carry some connection to the holidays, even those episodes are just as fun. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters’ episode “Gone Shopp’n” is a prime example of that entertainment. Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm sneak into a department store on the holidays and end up stopping a robbery in their own attempt to scare the mall’s patrons. Audiences will laugh out loud as Krumm harnesses a pair of security dogs and hooks them up to a sleigh. The dogs end up pulling the sleigh a la Santa’s reindeer. It is really the episode’s only connection to the holidays. But it is a funny moment nonetheless. “Monsers Don’t Dance” is yet another example of how this collection’s less holiday-themed episodes make for their own share of enjoyment. It is an episode that the show’s now grown-up audiences will fully appreciate because of the truths presented throughout. This episode makes fun of the likes of Barney and so many other similar performing figures who brainwash kids into buying their products. Every parent out there will be able to relate fully to this episode and in turn will find himself or herself laughing just as much. It’s just one more way in which the work of the shows’ writing makes these episodes so enjoyable. “Arnold’s Thanksgiving” is yet another example of exactly that. Arnold and Helga both learn to appreciate their own families in this episode even despite each family’s rather dysfunctional nature. It reminds viewers that no matter how bad they might think they might have things and how dysfunctional their own families might be, there is always someone that has it worse. It’s a great lesson for viewers to remember whether on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other time of the year. And it reminds viewers even more of why the writing behind each of the episodes featured on this DVD adds to the enjoyment in the DVD’s overall viewing experience.

The episodes featured within the body of OOTV Christmas and the writing behind each episode are both equally important in the grand scheme of the DVD’s viewing experience. Both elements make the DVD enjoyable in their own right. Together, they give viewers plenty of reason to pick up this latest addition to Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s OOTV series of releases. While both elements prove equally important in their own right, the animation styles presented in each show proves just as important to the DVD’s overall enjoyment. That is because so few of today’s “animated” series are actually animated in the traditional sense of the word. So many of today’s “animated” series are animated in name only. That is because they are largely crafted on a computer screen rather than an animation cell. There is no identity to said series. The series presented here however are the polar opposite of today’s “animated series.” Viewers that are familair with Nickelodeon’s classic ainmated series will see a clear connection between the early days of the network’s hit series Rugrats and that of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters in watching its episodes. It should come as no surprise since Krumm, Ickis, and Oblina happened to make a guest appearance of sorts in one of the Rugrats’ hallloween episodes. There is also a certain similarity to the animation style presented in The Wild Thornberrys. By comparison, the more rigid style of The Angry Beavers helps to give that show its own identity separate from that of the set’s other shows. CatDog and Hey Arnold! also hold their own in regards to their animation styles. CatDog’s animation style is as close as any of the series come to having a real cartoon-ish look. Hey Arnold! on the other hand presents something of a (believe it or not) more realistic look. From the show’s backdrop that is the city to the look of Arnold and the rest of the characters there is something about their design that makes them look more believable than cartoon-y. It is a great look separate from that of any of the set’s other series. And it is yet another example of why the animation styes presented within each of the set’s show’s plays just as important a role in the set’s enjoyment as the show’s writing and their very presentation in general. It is one more reminder of everything that was once right with children’s mainstream programming just as with the episodes’ writing. Both elements together with the presentation of the episodes themselves make OOTV Christmas a great way for any Nicktoons Nostalgic to get into the holiday spirit.

Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon’s new collection of Christmas-themed Nicktoons episodes is a great way for fans of the classic shows to get into the holiday spirit this year and any year. That is thanks in large part to the fact that none of the episodes presented in this set have previously been presented in the companies’ previous OOTV collections. They have been presented only in the shows’ previously released season and full series sets. Whhat’s more, Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have given audiences sixteen episodes this time instead of the ten episodes each presented in the previous OOTV collections. The various animation styles presented within each show serves as a reminder of everything that used to make animation so great. It gives each show its own identity separate from the others. Each element exhibits its own importance over the course of the DVD’s nearly four hour run time. All three elements combined make OOTV Christmas yet another collection of cartoons from Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory that will get any Nicktoons Nostalgic in the holiday mood. It is available now in stores. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon is available online now at:

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Danny Phantom Complete Series Set Is Loads Of Ghostly Fun For All

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Nickelodeon’s programming today is comprised largely of live action sitcoms aimed at teen viewers.  However, from the early 1990s up until the mid-2000s, the network was known more for its vast array of cartoons.  It’s “Nicktoons” were its heart and soul.  While Nickelodeon does have some cartoons today, the network’s sole remaining real Nicktoon is Butch Hartman’s hugely successful series Fairly OddparentsFairly Oddparents is a standout series, too.  Interestingly enough, it isn’t his first series to have the honor of being added to Nickelodeon’s list of beloved Nicktoons.  His first notable “Nicktoon” was the short-lived supernatural series Danny Phantom.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon, fans of Danny Phantom will be able to own the complete series in one box later this month.  Danny Phantom only ran for three seasons.  In its defense, it could be argued that this was because it was ahead of its time.  That aside, series creator Butch Hartman and his writers crafted a number of enjoyable episodes throughout the show’s short run.  Just as worth noting about this new upcoming box set is that is alleviates some minor problems raised in the box sets containing the series’ second season.  Lastly, those that know their Nicktoons history will appreciate the voice talent that made up the series’ cast.  That who’s who of voice actors combined with the enjoyable stories, and the fact that they are all available together for the first time collectively make this upcoming set well worth picking up for any Danny Phantom fan.

Fans of Danny Phantom: The Complete Series  will appreciate this new complete series set first and foremost because it presents the series’ entire three-season run in one complete box set.  Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have already released three complete series sets from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, and The Angry Beavers.  Those sets proved to actually take up far less space on DVD racks than the stand-alone season sets that had originally been released.  This set is no different.  All nine discs that make up all three seasons are included in this box.  Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon have sweetened the deal even more for fans in that they have maintained the established wise packaging that was used in the aforementioned complete series sets.  The discs are placed inside the box on either side of their own “insert” with the ninth and final disc being placed in its own spot inside the back of the case.  As with the previously noted box sets, this protects the discs and allows the episodes contained within each one to be enjoyed much longer.  It is the starting point of what audiences will appreciate about Danny Phantom: The Complete Series.

The packaging for Danny Phantom: The Complete Series is a good starting point in discussing everything that makes this box set well worth its price.  The episodes contained across the set’s nine total discs make the presentation as a whole even more enjoyable.  It would be easy to say that because its main characters were high school students, Danny Phantom was just another program aimed at audiences of the same age. To a point, it could be seen how teen audiences would take an interest in the series.  Case in point, one of the series’ story arcs involved a potential inter-racial romance between Danny and black classmate named Valerie Gray (voiced by Cree Summer—The Cosby Show, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door, etc.).  It really is a sign of the times that the show’s writers would include this without making a big fuss over it, either.  It is a subtle, but nice addition to the series.  There are also the constant struggles to balance trying to be a regular teen with being a superhero. But the jokes that are tossed in each episode aren’t above some younger viewers, either.  So while teens might have been the primary audience, younger viewers would have obviously enjoyed the show, too.  The same applies to today’s teens and pre-teens, too.

The packaging and writing that make up Danny Phantom’s episodes are collectively a big part of what makes the series so enjoyable even for today’s younger audiences.  There is at least one more aspect of the series’ new set that audiences will appreciate in examining the presentation as a whole.  That aspect is the series’ voice cast.  The series’ primary cast reads like a who’s who of voice acting.  It has already been noted that veteran voice actress Cree Summer is part of the primary cast (even though she doesn’t come into play until the second season).  Along with Ms. Summer, Grey DeLisle (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Clifford: The Puppy Years, Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, etc.) Kath Soucie (Futurama, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Beauty and the Beast, etc.), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, etc.) and a whole slate of others each play roles in the series.  Fans will also recognize the voices of Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim, Hellboy & Hellboy II), Martin Mull (Roseanne), and the man who is perhaps the busiest male voice actor in the business, one Frank Welker (Curious George, The Real Ghostbusters, Scooby-Doo Where Are You, etc.)  Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Taylor Lautner (the Twilight saga), and the late David Carradine even make appearances throughout the series among so many other big names.  If the massive list of A-listers that play roles in Danny Phantom isn’t reason enough to check out the new Danny Phantom: The Complete Series box set, then one need only set that alongside the enjoyable writing and the equally wise packaging to see just how worthwhile this set is for kids and kids at heart.  It will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 28th.  It can be pre-ordered online now from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/danny-phantom-complete-series.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Nickelodeon, Shout! Factory Offer More “Spirited” Fun In Danny Phantom Season 2.5

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

The end is near for another of Nickelodeon’s Nicktoons.  Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have officially released Danny Phantom Season Two Part Two, which will henceforth be simply called Season 2.5.  Danny Phantom Season 2.5 completes the penultimate season to this short lived series from Butch Hartman.  While this show would be short lived, Hartman would go on to create what is one of Nickelodeon’s more popular of the new generation of Nicktoons in The Fairly Oddparents.  Audiences see Danny get shrunk thanks to his dad’s bad aim, all while learning the value of physical fitness, believe it or not.  Also, after learning Danny’s secret, his sister Jazz tries to offer her help, but only makes things worse until she goes to visit Vlad Masterson.  And Danny also learns a very valuable lesson in a special Christmas themed episode.   

Danny Fenton (A.K.A. Danny Phantom) has had to face a lot of challenges ever since accidentally gaining his ghost powers.  He has also learned a lot of valuable life lessons along the way.  One of those valuable lessons that he learns is on the importance of physical fitness.  That lesson is contained in the episode, “Micro Management.”  In this episode, Danny has to utilize his “natural abilities” after being accidentally shrunk by his dad while battling Skulker.  Skulker also gets shrunk along with Danny’s classmate, Dash.  Ironically, Danny had been doing everything that he could to avoid the phys. Ed. test for which he was supposed to have been training prior to getting shrunk.  After going through the adventure, he realizes the importance of being physically fit.  This episode was a smart way to discuss the importance of physical fitness without preaching to young audiences.  Hartman and company were very smart to attack the concept in this way.

The importance of physical fitness is just one lesson that Danny learns in the second half of Season Two.  He also learns lessons about the importance of family through a handful of episodes.  One of those episodes was “Secret Weapons.”  Danny has faced some tough challenges before.  But nothing could prepare him for a sister who is trying way too hard to help Danny hunt ghosts.  Danny’s sister, Jazz, means well in her efforts to help him.  But her help seems to keep causing Danny trouble.  So he ends up confronting her about it at school.  This leads Jazz to go to Vlad Masterson’s home, where she discovers one of his secrets.  In learning his secret, Jazz and Danny team up in the end to beat Vlad.  Thanks to their teamwork, Danny learns to appreciate Jazz’s efforts as his sister, and to appreciate her as a sister, too.  Again, it’s a smart way to tackle a subject to which any younger viewer could relate.

Danny also learns to appreciate the rest of his family, as well as others In the Christmas episode, “The Fright Before Christmas.”  In this episode Danny is no fan of the holiday season.  Viewers learn that the reason for that is his parents constantly fight every Christmas.  So one year, Danny’s in such a foul mood that when he goes into the ghost zone, he destroys a Christmas book written by the Ghost Writer (voiced by Arrested Development star, Will Arnett).  The Ghost Writer is so angry that he traps Danny in a holiday story to teach Danny about appreciating Christmas.  The ghosts from the ghost zone are there, too.  They tell Danny that while they may fight him and each other through the year, Christmas is the one time of the year when they all have a truce, kind of like in All Quiet on The Western Front.  Fans will also enjoy the Christmas music in the background helping to set the mood of each scene.  Eventually, Danny learns that no matter how people celebrate (even if it’s by arguing and fighting), he shouldn’t let that spoil his view of Christmas, and in turn ruin others’ holiday season.  It’s a very valuable lesson for parents and kids alike. 

The episodes noted here are just small samplings of what Danny Phantom Season 2.5 has to offer.  Fans will likely have their own favorite episodes after watching this half of Season Two for themselves.  The two-disc DVD set is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct through Shout! Factory at http://www.shoutfactorystore.com

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Shout! Factory, Nickelodeon scare up more fun in Danny Phantom Season 2.0

Nicktoons Nostalgics worldwide are rejoicing once again today, as Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon are officially releasing Danny Phantom Season 2 Part 1 (or Season 2.0 for short).  Danny Phantom is the show that put Butch Hartman on the map.  And while it only lasted a total of three seasons, it was still a great show in its own right.  Fans of Hartman’s other shows, The Fairly Oddparents and most recently, T.U.F.F. Puppy will instantly recognize the same animation style, as well as some of the same voice talents in this show as those mentioned.

Danny Phantom’s second season sees Danny face one of his most dangerous enemies yet in the Ghost King in the two part special, “Reign Storm.”  It also boasts its own Christmas episode complete in verse in “The Fright Before Christmas.”  Both episodes have one interesting thing in common.  What they have in common is that in rare moments, the ghosts that Danny had battled and caught over the course of the show’s first season actually band together with Danny to help set things right.  That’s not all that makes these episodes stand out.  “Reign Storm” boasts former Star Trek:  TNG star Michael Dorn (Worf) as the Fright Knight.  And in “The Fright Before Christmas”, star Will Arnett (Arrested Development) voices the Ghsot Writer who traps Danny after Danny destroys his book out of his displeasure for the holiday season.

“Reign Storm” was a key moment in the Danny Phantom series.  What most people may not realize about Danny Phantom is that this series was in reality a serial of sorts.  “Reign Storm” sees Danny reach a crucial point in his own personal development, as well as the development of of his powers.  The episode opens with Danny’s arch nemesis, Vlad Masters (Vlad Plasmius) freeing the Ghost King in what seems to be an attempt to control him.  By controlling him, Vlad can control the ghost zone.  The problem is that his plan backfires.  So he has to hide the Ghost King’s ring while he tries to defeat the king.  He convinces Valerie (Cree Summer) to help him in his plan.  In the process of all that, Amity Park is sucked into the Ghost Zone.  So Danny has to face the Ghost King in order to get it back to the real world.  He learns that he’s been mis-managing his powers, letting himself get out of control.  Once he realizes this, he’s able to use the last of the Fenton Suit’s power to push the Ghost King back into his sarcophagus.  Much to Danny’s surprise, it was Vlad who locked the sarcophagus back as he held it closed.  And thanks to the help of all the ghosts in the ghost zone, Danny’s able to make his way into the Ghost King’s palace to begin with.

“Reign Supreme” wasn’t the only episode from Season Two that had Danny learning lessons.  In the Christmas episode, “The Fright Before Christmas” Danny is no fan of the holiday season.  Viewers learn that the reason for that is his parents constantly fight every Christmas.  So one year, Danny’s in such a foul mood that when he goes into the ghost zone, he destroys a Christmas book written by the Ghost Writer (voiced by Arrested Development star, Will Arnett).  The Ghost Writer is so angry that he traps Danny in a holiday story to teach Danny about appreciating Christmas.  The ghosts from the ghost zone are there, too.  They tell Danny that while they may fight him and each other through the year, Christmas is the one time of the year when they all have a truce, kind of like in All Quiet on The Western Front.  Fans will also enjoy the Christmas music in the background helping to se the mood of each scene.  Eventually, Danny learns that no matter how people celebrate (even if its by arguing and fighting), he shouldn’t let that spoil his view of Christmas, and in turn ruin others’ holiday season.  It’s a very valuable lesson for parents and kids alike. 

Danny Phantom Season 2.0 has lots of episodes that fans of this show will love to watch again and again.  The show only lasted three seasons.  Even as short as the show’s run was, it had its share of great episodes.  This pair of episodes are just a tiny part of a whole that made the show as great as it was.  And now that it’s in stores today, fans can pick up this double disc set and watch these episodes any time they want again and again.  For more information on this show or any of the other Nicktoons, fans can go to http://www.shoutfactory.com to get all the latest updates on the latest.